Welcoming back tourists to boost our economy

We’re ready to welcome the world back. As part of our work to accelerate our COVID-19 recovery, we’re bringing forward the next stage of our reconnecting plan: welcoming back tourists.

Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop the virus two years ago, and this step saved thousands of lives. Now, we're in the position to safely speed up our reopening to tourists – which will boost our economy and our regions as we push ahead with our recovery.

  • So, from 11:59pm on Tuesday 12 April, vaccinated Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand.
  • Then, from 11:59pm on Sunday 1 May, vaccinated travellers from visa waiver countries and people with existing valid visitors visas will be able to enter New Zealand.

These travellers won’t be required to self-isolate, as long as they test negative on arrival and again on day 5 or 6. This means they’ll immediately be able to enjoy all New Zealand has to offer, safely.

Tourism plays a huge role in New Zealand’s economy, and Kiwi tourism businesses and their staff have done it incredibly tough over the past two years. Bringing forward these dates will be a welcome boost for our tourism operators, and sends a clear message that we’re accelerating our recovery.

This move will ensure that we’re open in time for the Australian school holidays and the Easter-ANZAC break, which offer brilliant opportunities to roll out the welcome mat to our friends across the Tasman.

Before COVID, Australians represented 40% of all overseas visitors. They also made up 71% of all winter visitors who came here to ski. By reopening to Aussies from April, we’re getting trans-Tasman travel up and running again well in time for our ski season.

To kick-start demand, we’re rolling out a new tourism marketing campaign in Australia, which will highlight some of our most popular experiences. We know traveller numbers will take some time to rebound, but we also know that our strong response to COVID and our high vaccination rates make us an attractive travel destination.

We can see from the record export prices for our goods that New Zealand is in demand internationally at the moment – and an early reopening will increase our export capacity, providing a boost to the primary sector and helping to lock in the economic gains we’ve made.

This is the latest step in our work to reconnect New Zealanders with the world. The border is already open to Kiwis from around the world and to the critical workers we need to support key industries as our economy rebounds.

It’s been wonderful to see Kiwis reuniting with loved ones, and today’s announcement sets out a critical next step: reuniting visitors with our regional economies.

Here in Aotearoa, we’re proud of our hospitality and manaakitanga. We’re excited to convert holiday dreams into action and welcome tourists back with open arms.

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